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WWT Slimbridge Reserve Manager wins a Marsh Award after 40 years of service

Dave Paynter WWT Slimbridge

Reserve Manager for WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, Dave Paynter, has been awarded a Marsh Charitable Trust Award after celebrating 40 years working with WWT.

The Marsh award for Community Wetland Conservation Champion is run in association with WWT and recognises an individual whose sustained activities have resulted in long term change for wetlands or their wildlife.

WWT’s Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Peberdy, says;
“Dave’s contribution has been immense. He has never stopped thinking how the reserve can be improved. The wetland habitats and the species they support throughout the year are now hugely more diverse because of his hard work over 40 years. But Dave is equally well known for how he connects all visitors to that wildlife, expert and novice alike, through his commentated feeds, his duck decoy demonstrations and his 4x4 safaris. He very much deserves this award.”

During Dave’s 40 years at Slimbridge he has been the driving force behind the creation, restoration and management of a wide variety of wetland habitats at WWT Slimbridge. Dave has introduced important waterscapes, including the South Lake, which is used by breeding species such as avocet and common crane, as well as wintering birds such as the black-tailed godwit. Dave has helped develop the 100 acre reed-bed, resulting in habitat used by species such as bittern, marsh harrier, garganey and rare dragonflies.

Dave has also trained hundreds of volunteers to carry out habitat work, water vole surveys and much more. Away from the reserve he has also helped to run the Bewick’s swan catches on the tundra, training up WWT’s Russian partners and supporting WWT’s advocacy work on lead poisoning and illegal hunting.

Back at Slimbridge Dave is best known for his engagement with visitors, leading 4x4 Wild Safaris and wildflower walks during summer months, to running Duck Decoy demonstrations and wild bird feeds in the winter time. Dave often represents Slimbridge featuring on national TV programmes, he is highly engaging and makes conservation an accessible subject and inspires people to take action for wetlands. Dave is also the familiar face of Slimbridge’s ‘WildWatch’, providing Slimbridge’s social media followers with regular updates from the reserve and recent sightings at the wetland centre and passionately sharing his love for wetlands and wildlife.

Watch a video on Dave Paynter’s Marsh Award:
Watch Dave Paynter in the latest Slimbridge WildWatch:

Explore Gloucestershire
9 February 2022

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